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 Matrix Revolutions
 Critic's Rating
   [B]
 Date Posted
   29th November, 2003
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Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski

If the first Matrix was about an idea, and its sequel about the extension of that idea, complete with the inclusion of a neat little twist about its very existence, then comparatively, the third and final installment is an excessive excuse to throw at the screen as much machine warfare as is possible. Pity that the very person trying to emancipate humanity loses all human characteristics by the time we reach the disappointing conclusion.

Anyone who has read preview notes or synopsis knows what they are to expect; a conclusion to one of the most popular science fiction movies of this generation, but not without a climatic fight to shrink all that have come before it. While the latter does not disappoint, the former is a hotchpotch of prophetic visions coming true in the tritest and most labored manner. Picking up effortlessly from where we left off in limbo between the real world and Matrix, we find Neo at a train station where he meets a little Indian girl, Sati, and her parents, trying to leave the Matrix using the services of a bum called the 'trainman'. Meanwhile, like a bad action movie, there is a visit to a club where Morpheus and Trinity try to parley with Frenchman Merovingian, who has control over the transitory region where Neo is trapped. All of this occurs in the backdrop of preparations for war within Zion, where the sentinels are expected to strike in less than 24 hours.

With the lack of any new developments in terms of character or plot, the movie is just what the trailers promise it to be, meaningless talk before the big set pieces can take over and visually assault the senses. There is also the now obligatory visit to a markedly changed Oracle where Neo asks the questions we as an audience want answers to, but aren't fully provided with. While trying to explain her change in countenance the Oracle comes across as almost apologetic in her explanations. Perhaps she knew how the whole thing would fall apart by the time the credits would roll.

While Revolutions is not too different from this past summer's Reloaded in terms of pacing, special effects or general speechifying about love and karma, its undoing lies in the partially fulfilled promise of a knockout conclusion. What made Reloaded a better movie were both the pent up hype of the years since the first Matrix and the assurance of better things to come with the conclusive chapter. To see how simple, how plain and nearly insipid that final chapter is, tarnishes the image of the trilogy.

Not that it fails to satisfy on every level. The invasion of Zion is a marvel of technical perfection. At one point scores of sentinels swarm into Zion like bees in a phenomenal sequence that is a grand spectacle to behold. There is also the constant feel of foreboding doom during the long drawn battle, but the same careless excitement I felt while watching the tacky 'Starship Troopers'. What's distracting during this portion is the absence of any of the major characters, who are relegated to navigating their vessels for long stretches. There are so many shots of sentinels whizzing by, you almost forget what portion of the film you are watching.

This late in the series, director siblings the Wachowski's should have known better than to rely so heavily on action sequences alone, especially considering their rampant imitation over the years. Good science fiction movies, like Blade Runner and Minority Report, are meant to be inspiring. Bad science fiction on the other hand rely more on sturdy visuals to instigate awe as opposed to challenging the mind. The original Matrix superbly juggled the two, the second was a misbalanced but no less entertaining affair, the third ends up becoming wall to wall CGI with very little tossed as thoughtful stimulation. - Faizan Rashid

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